About Vic (twitter: @_Tangrin_)

Game developer from the Netherlands.

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Ludum Dare 27
 
Ludum Dare 25
 
Ludum Dare 23
 
Ludum Dare 22

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Gunjoust – Postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @_Tangrin_)
Thursday, August 29th, 2013 4:25 am

Gunjoust

Gunning & Jousting, when?

Ok, so this is the story behind Gunjoust. I was on holiday for two weeks in Austria and returned last weekend. I live in the Netherlands, so the drive back takes about 10 hours if you don’t stop and are very lucky, but during summer you are never lucky on saturdays on the road, ever! So while being stuck in one-lane traphic hell in the beautiful Austrian alps I was thinking, would it really be wise to enter LD when I get home? So on the way back I tanked up on Mc. Donalds and Red Bull and when I got home around 1AM on a saturday night/sunday morning, I somehow wasn’t tired (caffeine overdose), or at least I had convinced my brain I wasn’t, and so Gunjoust started.

Gunjoust, what?

Having only about 24 hours left to LD I knew this was not a smart plan, but I had the Gunjousting idea in my head all day. What if you have ten seconds to spear, humiliate and annihilate your opponent? You need something to do while riding up to your target, so why not dodge and shoot at him, right, right? RIGHT! So that is how it started.

Gunjoust, how?

This is a 3d game and having quite some experience with unity I decides to go with that. I also wanted to try this new Mecanim stuff for character animation, which turns out to be pretty damn sweet. For the characters I just don’t have the time to make real human beings and horses, so I knew it would be mechanical. I was not sure if I should go with horses though. I was thinking, maybe I should go with dinosaurs. Does anybody remember dinoriders?

Ok, so maybe it is from before your time, I don’t know, but that was such a cool idea. Look at it, dinos with lasers! Can you imagine jousting on one of those velociraptors? But it would be too much work! So I went with steampunk robots instead. The horse modeling and animation was done on saturday night, I went to bed around 5-6 am I think feeling very satisfied, but also worried because all I had was a horse and not a single line of code. I told myself, you are doing it again, art before code, bad, bad idea.

Sunday, sunday, gotta get down on sunday!

So I get up on sunday around 10am I guess. Got some breakfast, coffee, coffee…And then I started coding! So basically building the game was quite straight forward at first.

  1. Import model
  2. Have the model play the walk animation and walk down the lane
  3. Duplicate model, have it walk down the lane from the other side(this is your enemy)
  4. Setup triggers/physics so that you can detect where hits happen, then have callbacks on those components to some main class that handles all these different impacts gracefully.
  5. Dock the camera to the model, have a look around script that is limited, I was kind of in doubt here. It is currently clamped to a rectangular area in front of you, but I thought rounding the corners might feel better. Messed around with this a bit, decided it wasn’t worth the time.

So at this point I basically had the characters running down the lane and you could detect impacts. I still had the shooting part left. Now, the shooting was a bit tricky. Normally a gun is in a fixed spot on the player, aligned to the bullet direction and the crosshair. But in this case the lance is going all over the place so aligning the aim is a pain, bullets go where you don’t want them to go. So what do you do? Fake it! I am not shooting the bullets from the lance at all, but from position a little to the side/in front of the camera. This way the bullet always travels a good path that makes sense to the player.

After this it was pretty much polishing the game as much as I could with the couple of hours I had left. One part that had me stuck for a while was the dodging. The lance arm is setup with Inverse Kinematics. Which basically means you move the lance and the arm will follow. But, when you are also dodging left and right it becomes more tricky. Mecanim is in control of all the bones, so in unity you can update the torso rotation after Mecanim is done with it, but then Mecanim has already calculated the IK, so the arm will move away from the lance. Instead I had to do it all in Mecanim. I decided to go with three animations, a neutral sitting one, one dodging left, and one dodging right. With blend trees in Mecanim you can mix these animations based on variables from script. So my conclusion is that Mecanim is a pretty amazing piece of technology and you should definitely give it a try.

The final hour

In the final hour I added the environments, the menu screen and the sounds. I basically worked until the last minute and just ran out of time. It just wasn’t done, there were no victory conditions, no final polish like hiding the mouse. There was just a lot missing to make it a solid entry. So at first I thought, I am not going to submit it. I sent a build to Benn (click his name and play his entry, it is really good), and he told me I should definitely submit it. So if it wasn’t for Benn I wouldn’t have submitted at all :).

Surprise!

I think most people actually like the game. I was positively surprised again by the LD community, really, the LD community is probably the coolest group of people on the entire Internet. I am glad that people could look past the flaws and lack of polish and simply enjoy it.

What is next?

After reading the comments and feeling very happy, I noticed some people mentioned they would like it turned into a full game. At first I did not take the thought serious, but now a couple of days later I am thinking, why not?
So if you have played the game, and have ideas on what I could add please leave me a message, either here, on twitter @_tangrin_, or just shoot me a mail at vlegerstee@tangrin.com.

Oh, and for the people who have not played it yet, here is a link:
http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-27/?action=preview&uid=7283

 

Post-Mortem Vic

Posted by (twitter: @_Tangrin_)
Monday, December 17th, 2012 3:15 am

Burrr

What went Right?

  • I enjoyed building the game, I did this LD because I wanted to have fun with a small game and I did have a lot of fun dropping cows and watching big waves of zombies run into machine guns.
  • Focused on design, not graphics. Because I did not pay as much attention to the graphics as usual I could spend more time on adding a tutorial and some extra gameplay.
  • I like the design, I think it has familiar elements, but it is different, maybe I can port it to tablet or something.
  • It is a complete game, every feature I planned is in.

What went Wrong?

  • Was busy until 3am,  that was not how I planned it :).
  • Underestimated how long it would take to build the levels.
  • Need to work on my Sound Fx/Music skills, the game really needed some zombie sounds and fun music.
  • It needed more levels, probably about 10 levels or so. This way I would have been able to have a better difficulty curve. The game has enough content to build 10 levels.

So what I will do different next time? I will start earlier on the levels. So the first day is just implementation of ideas and features and the biggest part of the second day is building levels.

If you want to play my game, here is the link:

Play it !

Time for a little update

Posted by (twitter: @_Tangrin_)
Sunday, December 16th, 2012 2:41 am

This is the morning of my second day, so let’s start with an update on what I am working on :)

In the game I am building you play as an evil general. You have run out of conventional weapons, so now you can only drop two things: Toxic waste, and cows! The goal of the game is to take out or zombify your opponents. Today I will add the last elements that will make this sandbox a game and then create some levels. Any time left will go to sound and art stuff.

All is well in inmate land

All is well in inmate land


It is a bird, is it a plane? No! It is drones dropping toxic waste!

It is a bird, is it a plane? No! It is drones dropping toxic waste!


Green is all the rage

Green is all the rage


Hmmmm, cow!

Hmmmm, cow!


Hmmmm, human!

Hmmmm, human!


Yay, victory!

Yay, victory!

Buggy, Tank and MISSILE LAUNCHER Post-Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @_Tangrin_)
Tuesday, April 24th, 2012 2:57 am

Buggy, Tank and missile launcher – How it started

Forgot a link: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-23/?action=preview&uid=7283

This was my second LD entry, and it was Cavit’s first entry. I really enjoyed last LD Compo (and have since been active on IRC), and asked Cavit if he would like to join. We had a blast this weekend creating this game :).

The concept was created pretty easily. I woke up at about 7 am on Saturday, looked at the concept, went back to bed with a notepad. At about 8 am I had a number of concepts, and started concepting them on paper. Cavit joined in about an hour later. We discussed what idea’s we had, and this was the one we felt sounded the most fun and easiest to execute.

On saturday we first started by putting down the basic. A world, rotating cubes around it and clickable stuff. Cavit started on the building with the separate floors, and a simple Unity UI. I started with the planet, lanes and rotating units around the planet. After this basis was done Cavit continued with pure coding, while I started on models. I think it took about 3-4 hours to do all the models and animations. By about 7pm we had a working prototype with units rotating around the planet attacking each other and a building. Once we had the prototype the controls were not as intuitive yet. We stopped at about 2 or 3 am I think, we had a working version and were feeling good about it.

On sunday polishing started. I wrote a complete custom UI and created new buttons. Cavit started working out as many kinks as possible, set up basic AI, set up some basic menus. At the end of sunday we had a polished version.

On monday Cavit needed to go back to work. I spent the day integrating the upgrade system, tweaking the balance, and improving the AI a bit. In the evening Cavit worked on sound, and I built a second level and did some more menu tweaks. We sent in the game at about 2:30 am. Of course, we had a gameplay breaking bug within half an hour ( money labels did not show up). We are not sure why it happened, because it did not happen in the editor, but we needed to recode the ui system a bit, and went to bed at 4 am on monday.

What went wrong?

– What you see in the unity editor might not be what you get on other PCs. We had a really nasty bug after launching, needed to test on more computers

– Games like this are hard to balance, one player will beat it easily, others will not be able to make it. Needed more levels

– There could be some more depth in the game, we had more conceptual stuff on paper that did not make it in.

– Would have been awesome if the game had been multiplayer

– Health stuff: We worked until too late, now our sleep schedules are messed up, ate too much wasabi chips and other crap, need to spend a lot of time in the gym now.

What went right?

– Prototype done on the first day

– The game was easily extendable, we could add layers like upgrades later on.

– We enjoyed working on the game, it is a happy looking game, and that made us happy to work on it.

– We kept the graphic assets requirements low. This way we could focus on the gameplay (this was a fix to my biggest mistake last LD)

– We cleared our schedules as much as possibly, this made it easy to focus. We worked with skype on almost constantly, and in general we are very good at working together.

What did not make the game?

If we would make a full game out of this. We would add a number of features.

– Base defense, like turrets.

– Camera zoom, so you can see more of the battlefield

– Minimap with circle and dots of friendly and enemy troops

– Flying units so you can bypass lanes/death from above.

– Multiplayer

Conclusion

Cavit and I had a  lot of fun, and are definitely joining next LD. We are thinking about making a more full-featured game out of this for PC/Mac/iPad/PSN? after we finish the project we are currently working on.

LD#23 – I’m In!

Posted by (twitter: @_Tangrin_)
Friday, April 6th, 2012 12:58 am

I’m in! Or better said, we are in :).

Last time I joined the competition. This time we are joining the jam (2 man team so far). Last time I finished, but the final product was only a small part of what I was planning to build, and thus the game fell a bit short.
This time, we are planning to do things a bit smarter :).

Oh, we will be building the game in unity3d (pro), with C#.

– Vic

Building games together?

Posted by (twitter: @_Tangrin_)
Friday, January 13th, 2012 9:37 am

So I have been ranting about this all day now on IRC. Building games together! This LD almost 900 games were submitted. If you think about it, the time and effort invested is mind-boggling. Roughly estimated when each participant invested maybe 30 hours in the weekend, that is about 30.000 hours of time invested in game creation in a weekend. But when the weekend ends many people walk away and don’t really look back until the next LD. I think this is a bit of a shame, because LD is the perfect opportunity to meet like-minded gamedevelopers.

So I am trying to figure out if it is possible for more people to collaborate on game creation, to meet more game developers and channel all this energy to create even more complete games. Because creating games is usually a team effort, and the more game developers you know, the higher the chance that individuals meet up that have fun together building games, or make the next big indie hit. I have even written a little word document that introduces the concept: Ludum Dare: Co-op:

Ludum Dare: Co-op

It is a rough concept at this point. The interesting thing is that many people on IRC like the idea very much, but are not sure on the execution. So discuss away! What would be the best way for you to collaborate with other developers, and together build something bigger than what we usually see in a LD?

Vic

 

I’m in

Posted by (twitter: @_Tangrin_)
Wednesday, December 7th, 2011 6:08 am

This will be my first LD.

Will use Flixel/Flash if the theme is good in 2D, Unity if 3D.

Have fun!

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